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What will be your Signature Summer Cocktail?

As the warm weather deepens and the threat of late-season icy blasts goes away, more and more people are enjoying the outdoors, and hand-in-hand with enjoying the sunny weather comes the craving for interesting cold drinks to enjoy it with. Restaurant supply stores carry all the hardware needed to craft beautiful, intriguing cocktails, but just as important as the tools to make drinks are the ingredients you make them with. With that in mind, there are some great sources of inspiration not only in curated lists but also in just the fruits and vegetables available in the season. By taking a new look at a few different alcohols and the way they can combine with the best flavors of the season, you can create cocktails that will encourage people to keep sipping.

The first thing to look at when considering summer cocktails is the base liquors best suited to the season. Consider focusing on those liquors that were developed in warmer climates, like Southern Italian limoncello or India-inspired gin. Bright, crisp flavors pair well with summery fruits like citrus--take for example this recipe for a modified Tom Collins, which pairs limoncello with lemon and gin to create a sweet, sharp drink that will cool even the most heated heads.

Frozen drinks are also a traditional summer favorite, but there is something to be said for incorporating unusual ingredients into them. While cucumbers have long been a favorite for drinks like the Pimm’s Cup, they also can make for a satisfying texture and not-too-sweet flavor for daiquiris, as in this recipe for a cucumber daiquiri. Another option to consider is an avocado margarita; the avocado adds a creaminess to the sour lime, sharp tequila, and salt of the mainstay beverage, and of course there are few things that play better with avocado than lime. You can also go in the direction of using unusual liquor combinations to craft frozen drinks--gin and tonic comes together beautifully in a blender to create a beverage that’s even more cooling than the original, and the classic negroni becomes something even more interesting when it’s frozen as opposed to on the rocks.

Of course, another mainstay of summer drinking is wine--particularly white or blush wine. But it doesn’t have to be boring. In addition to sangria, made with summer fruits like peaches or strawberries, you can look into wine cocktails like this white wine paloma, which uses sauvignon blanc in place of tequila to make a refreshing drink that isn’t quite as potent as the original--but which is every bit as flavorful. For something a little harder, think about combining the best of the margarita with the best of sangria, as in this recipe for the “sangrita”.

Another trick for sprucing up summer cocktails is to incorporate different flavors through flavored syrups or other accessory ingredients; thyme-infused simple syrup can elevate a classic Collins to the next level, while pepper-infused simple syrup can add a sharp, spicy counterpoint to a rocks margarita. The flavor combinations are almost endless--especially if you make your own syrups for flavoring your drinks.


Of course, not everyone will want something alcoholic to drink; non-alcoholic beverages can also be exciting in the summer. Mexican agua fresca offers a wealth of possibilities to play with simply by changing up the fruit you use to make the simplified punch: while watermelon is a traditional flavor, cantaloupe is delightful too, and strawberry is a long-time favorite. You can also use your flavored syrups to add interest to lemonade--lavender syrup makes for a particularly delicious and relaxing drink. Non-alcoholic punches don’t have to be boring and overly sweet; you can switch out traditional ginger ale for sharper, less-sweet ginger beer to change up the syrupy taste, or use fresh cherries instead of jarred ones to make a beverage that won’t give you a toothache. Consider also incorporating aromatic bitters--just a dash--into your punches; while they do contain alcohol in most cases, the amount you add is minimal, on par with what you’d add of vanilla extract to cooked items.

Whatever your tastes, there are ways to bring the summer into any cocktail hour that you want--and with a few good recipes, along with some solid restaurant supplies, you can make delicious and intriguing drinks all summer long.

2019-05-29 00:00:00
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